Whitewater Rafting in the Great Smoky Mountains

Take the Family Whitewater Rafting in the Great Smoky Mountains 

Courtesy of Smoky Mountain Outdoors, I had the opportunity to go whitewater rafting in the Great Smoky Mountains for the very first time!  If you’ve never been whitewater rafting or if you’re an experienced rafter, a trip down the Pigeon River will be an amazing way to spend your day.

Smoky Mountain Outdoors/ Pigeon River Campground

Photo Jul 02, 8 24 27 AMFirst off, let’s talk about the cabins.  These cabins are brand new.  They still have that new cabin smell. Or commonly known as “wood” smell. They’re anchored on the edge of the Pigeon River and offer a great outdoor feeling without having to sleep on the ground. Each cabin offers 2 bunkbeds that can easily sleep 4 to 5 people, refrigerator, microwave, WiFi, and most importantly…climate control. The Pigeon River Campground also has onsite private bathrooms that are beautiful, a swimming pool and a market to get some necessities, like marshmallows, adult beverages, fire wood, adult beverages, snacks and did I mention…adult beverages? The best part about the Pigeon River Campground, is you’re within walking distance of the Smoky Mountain Outdoors rafting check-in.  Consider it an “all inclusive” trip. There are also campsite and RV hook ups on site as well.  The Pigeon River Campground would make a perfect spot for a “staycation” to get away without having to “get away”.

Whitewater Rafting with Smoky Mountain Outdoors

So, I will admit, I was a nervous wreck before this trip.  It probably didn’t help that my wife and I IMG_0072watched “whitewater rafting fails” on YouTube before going out.  Plan for the worst and hope for the best, right? There are different rafting trips available.  You can hit the Upper Pigeon River for either rafting or EXTREME rafting.  Extreme rafting is a small raft and fewer people. Call me a chicken, but I opted for the standard Upper Pigeon River rafting experience.

After being assigned to our guide, Paul or a.k.a “Brother Nature”, we geared up and headed to the outpost which is about a 10 minute bus ride. The guides are great on this trip.  They’ll give you a brief safety seminar and then the rest of the time is filled with laughs and getting you pumped up for an amazing adventure.

The Upper Pigeon trip is 6.5 miles with class 3 and 4 rapids. 6.5 miles may seem like a lot, but the time will FLY by. The class of rapids scared me at first but it’s nothing to be too scared about.  It looks worse than it really is.  If I can do it, anyone can do it! The trip will last about 2 hours, you’ll hit about 70 different rapids and could easily be described as the best 2 hours of your life!

“Brother Nature”Paul

So, I have to talk about the man, the myth, the legend…”Brother Nature”, or as his parents call him…Paul. Paul was our raft guide and he made the trip so much more exciting and fun.  When trying to describe Paul to my friends, I would say he’s a combination of a surfer dude, mixed with Hulk Hogan…minus the 48 inch biceps. When talking with the guides before and after the trip, it seems to me you can’t go wrong with any of the guides at Smoky Mountain Outdoors.  These guys and gals clearly love what they do and make the trip so much fun!

Whitewater Kayaking

Whitewater Rafting in the Great Smoky MountainsThis is where things got interesting. After our rafting trip, we grabbed a bite to eat at the “Lost Guide Grill”, which is the on-site eatery, and then we were whisked away for our trip down the Lower Pigeon River on some inflatable kayaks. When I say “thing’s got interesting”, it’s because you’re basically your own guide.  While there is a professional guide on the water with you, you’re in the kayak alone. The Lower Pigeon River is much more calm than the Upper, which is why kayaking is preferred for this section of the river. If you don’t know how to swim, opt for the rafting trip down the lower, rather than the kayaks.  The odds of falling out of a kayak are much higher than in the raft…I would know. I tumbled out of the kayak about half way through the trip. But, as you can tell, I made it out alive and laughed about it the entire time.

Smoky Mountain Outdoors has combo packages available which will include trips on the Upper and Lower Pigeon River.  They also offer individual adventures and groups are more than welcome. You can find out more about Smoky Mountain Outdoors and get a special coupon by clicking here.

If you want a day full of adventure, hit the Pigeon River for some exciting whitewater rafting and kayaking. It really is an adventure you’ll never forget. Also, you’ll make new friends, like the DeMild family from Pennsylvania.

If you’re planning a trip for some whitewater rafting in the Great Smoky Mountains, there are several rafting companies to choose from. Each offers something a little different.  For those rafting companies, see below.

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